How many of these songs written by Irish people do you know?
Ireland, as a country, is known for its unique method of storytelling through song. Over the years, we have accumulated quite a collection of songs.
Here’s our top selection of influential tunes written by Irish people that we all know and love.
10. Grace − written by Frank and Seán O’Meara
This song tells the story of Grace Gifford, who married Joseph Mary Plunkett in Kilmainham Jail mere hours before he was executed by firing squad. The couple were only allowed to spend 15 minutes together as a married couple.
9. C’est La Vie − written by B*Witched
We would never forgive ourselves if ‘C’est la Vie’ didn’t make it onto this list. The 1998 hit made chart success worldwide, achieving number-one chart status in Ireland, the UK, and New Zealand.
B*Witched is the youngest girl band to rank at Number one in the UK charts. With that in mind, this song is one of the most influential songs written by Irish people.
8. Open Your Eyes − written by Snow Patrol
Snow Patrol is a Northern Irish-Scottish band, and we are delighted to be able to claim them as partially ours.
This song has been used time and time again in popular culture. It’s been showcased in many TV shows over the years, from ER to The Office.
7. Come Out Ye Black and Tans − written by Dominic Behan
This is a song that has seen many different versions over the years, from The Wolfe Tones iteration to Steve Coogan singing it on the BBC.
Our current favourite is Ispíní na hÉireanns version from their new album, which you can listen to above. We love a rebel song with some sexy sax thrown over it. Music is just one of many things that make Irish people happy, no doubt about it.
6. Songs of Love − written by Neil Hannon
You might recognise part of this angelic song as the theme tune for the much beloved Father Ted TV series. ‘Songs of Love’ is a song performed by The Divine Comedy and one of the most iconic songs written by Irish people.
5. Zombie − written by Dolores O’Riordan
Written in response to a bombing which killed two children, ‘Zombie’ speaks volumes about the conflict Ireland has faced.
The song has gained phenomenal success worldwide since its release in 1994 and has over 800 million hits on Spotify. There’s no denying that this is one of the most influential songs written by Irish people.
4. The Rocky Road to Dublin − written by D.K Gavan
This one dates back to the 19th century and has been recorded an overwhelming number of times by different artists.
Just give it a listen, and you’ll understand why it’s stood the test of time. What’s not to love about a lad heading off to Liverpool to seek his fortune, only to get stuck with the pigs dancing jigs on the ship?
3. Back Home in Derry − written by Bobby Sands
Irish hunger striker Bobby Sands wrote the lyrics for this haunting number while he was in prison.
On hearing the lyrics, Christy Moore applied them to the tune of Gordon Lightfoot’s ‘The Wreck of the Edmund FitzGerald’. The rebel song describes the voyage of Irish rebels to Australia in 1803. It is one of the best Christy Moore songs.
2. Maniac 2000 − written by Mark McCabe
This whopper tune spent an impressive ten weeks in the number-one slot of the Irish music charts in 2001. Mark McCabe took Michael Sembello’s ‘Maniac’, added a rap over it, and Ireland went insane.
1. The Auld Triangle − written by Dick Shannon
Dick Shannon penned this song and gave it to his dear pal Brendan Behan as an opening to his 1954 play The Quare Fellow. The song describes the old triangle used in Mountjoy Prison to wake inmates. While no longer in use, it still hangs in Mountjoy to this day.
Honourable mention: Talk to Joe − written by Ispíní na hÉireann
Given that their album only hit the shelves in October, this song is too new to be added to our official rankings just yet. However, come back to us in ten years, and it’s sure to be listed, as it’s already a success in our hearts.
This gas tune describes Irish society’s creme de la creme, the people who call up Joe Duffy to “give the nation stink”. ‘Talk to Joe’ is an anthem that would give ‘Amhrán na bhFiann’ a run for its money.